Case Study

State Court Administration

State Court Administration Chooses Sun Fire X4500 Data Server and Luminex Channel Gateway Software for Mainframe Virtual Tape Solution


A large State Court Administration department was faced with upgrading its mainframe tape production and backup processes.  The State Court Administration processed, stored and backed up a very large amount of data on tape on a daily basis that continued to increase annually. They were using two mainframe tape autoloaders that were increasingly expensive to maintain, were no longer fast enough to meet their daily production requirements and were rapidly approaching their storage capacities.  They implemented a cost-effective mainframe virtual tape solution based on the Sun Fire X4500 Data Server and Luminex Channel Gateway Software. 

Business Need

With its data requirements continually growing and with out-dated storage infrastructure, the customer needed to upgrade its mainframe tape production and backup processes.  They were using two mainframe tape autoloaders that cost a lot to maintain and were increasingly requiring more service.  Their old autoloaders were slow and with the increasing amount of data they were required to process and store, they needed to improve the speed and reliability of their tape production runs and backups.  They also needed  to maintain an integrated capability to import and share 36 track tape media with other organizations.  The IT Manager for the department looked at two solutions, the Sun Fire X4500 Data Server with Luminex Channel Gateway Software and the EMC CLARiiON with Bustech appliance.  After thorough evaluation, the State Court Administration department selected the Sun and Luminex mainframe virtual tape solution.   

The Luminex Solution

The Sun Fire X4500 Data Server was configured with Luminex’s Channel Gateway software with two FICON channels connected to the mainframe and set up to hold 17 TBs of ZFS-managed mainframe tape data with dual parity RAID.  This data is also backed up to the customer’s existing LTO tape library by installing a TSM client on the Sun Fire X4500 Data Server.  The mainframe data is efficiently backed up to the shared open system tape for off-site backup and archiving.  

The Luminex Channel Gateway also includes the ability to import native mainframe tapes to the disk-based virtual storage, and to create native physical mainframe tapes from the virtual tape storage.  The customer is leveraging this capability b attaching a SCSI-based 3490 tape drive to the server for import and export.  All of the required legacy tape functionality continues to be fully operational in the new virtual tape environment.

“The Luminex Channel Gateway software combined with the Sun Fire X4500 Data Server makes a great, high performance, cost-effective mainframe virtual tape solution,” stated the State agency’s IT Manager.  He continued, “We have integrated the solution with our existing open systems tape library infrastructure for cost-effective backups without using mainframe resources.”

State court administration configuration

Solution Benefits

  • Much faster batch processing
  • Extremely cost-effective acquisition cost
  • Eliminated high maintenance fees on old tape autoloaders
  • Dramatically improved reliability
  • Permitted Customer to share existing and lower cost open systems storage infrastructure for mainframe tape backup
  • Eliminated backup impacts on mainframe resources
  • Allows seamless storage growth with no impact to existing processes
  • Leverages Luminex’s Channel Gateway’s Import/Duplicate feature for legacy tape requirements to share data with third parties